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Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder Holds a Press Briefing

BRIGADIER GENERAL PAT RYDER: All right, good afternoon, everyone. I have quite a bit to share at the top today, so thank you in advance for your patience, then we'll get right to your questions.

This morning, the Air Force announced that the search and rescue effort for the Air Force Special Operations Command Osprey aircraft mishap in Japan has transitioned to a search and recovery effort. Of the eight airmen onboard the aircraft at the time of the mishap, the remains of three airmen have already been recovered and the remains of another three airmen have been located and are in the process of being recovered. The recovery operation will now focus on locating and recovering the remaining two airmen and aircraft debris.

All families have been contacted about and notified about the loss of their loved ones, and our deepest condolences go out to the families, friends, and colleagues of these eight American airmen who are impacted by this tragic mishap and the immeasurable loss of life. We want to thank the government of Japan for all of their assistance.

Air Force Special Operations Command is investigating this mishap and I'd refer you to them for any further questions.

Separately, Secretary Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Brown will join other senior leaders from across the interagency today in a closed session to all members of Congress to brief on the urgent need to pass the administration's supplemental budget request.

As Secretary Austin has said, this supplemental request must be passed to fund our critical national security requirements, to stand by our partners in their moment of need, and to invest in our defense industrial base.

Notably, without additional funding, the department may soon reach a point where it cannot sustain the current level of security assistance support to Ukraine. This situation underscores the importance of continued congressional support for Ukraine at a pivotal moment in their campaign to defend their freedom as they push back on Russia's war of aggression.

Also on Ukraine, senior leaders from DoD, to include Secretary Austin and Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Dr. William LaPlante, will participate in the Ukraine Industrial Base Summit tomorrow here in Washington, D.C. alongside our Ukrainian partners and interagency counterparts from the Departments of State and Commerce. This summit will reinforce our shared commitment to enhance Ukraine's defense industrial base and to further security cooperation between our two nations.

Of note, on Thursday, Dr. LaPlante will convene the eighth meeting of the National Armament Directors under the auspices of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. The meeting will be held here at the Pentagon, the first time the forum is convened in the United States.

This session is a vital forum that brings together more than 40 nations, NATO, and the EU, and is aimed at collaboratively solving industrial base and sustainment challenges, in support of Ukraine, both to meet immediate requirements while also supporting Ukraine's long-term defense and national security needs. We will post additional details of both of these important events on after their conclusion.

In the Middle East, the United States continues to support USAID and UN humanitarian relief operations in Gaza. At the request of USAID, the Department of Defense airlifted another 16.3 metric tons, or 36,000 pounds, of vital supplies to the people of Gaza today, providing more vitally needed medical supplies, warm clothing, and food and nutrition. As in our previous airlift, these supplies were delivered via a U.S. Air Force C-17 to Egypt to subsequently be transported via ground into Gaza and then distributed by UN agencies.

Today's delivery follows the November 28th delivery by DoD of 54,000 pounds of supplies to the people of Gaza. Additional flights are expected in the coming days, and for more information on these ongoing efforts, I would refer you to USAID.

In other updates, the Secretary will host Swedish Minister of Defense Pal Jonson at the Pentagon later today to discuss key defense and security topics. During the meeting, Secretary Austin and Minister Jonson will sign the first-ever U.S.-Sweden Defense Cooperation Agreement.

The agreement will enable enhanced defense cooperation, such as the legal status of deployed U.S. military personnel, access to deployment areas, and pre-positioning of military materiel. The DCA also creates the conditions necessary for U.S. military support when requested and is therefore an agreement of great importance to both countries' shared security objectives. We'll post a readout of the meeting to the Defense Department website afterwards.

And earlier today, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Tressa Guenov joined the U.S. Department of State to lead the Department of Defense delegation to the 50th anniversary session of the U.S.-Portugal Standing Bilateral Commission in Angra do Heroismo, Azores, to discuss key bilateral defense priorities, including transatlantic security and to recognize 80 years of defense partnership at Lajes Field.

Finally, more than three dozen National Guardsmen from the Arkansas Air National Guard are in Guatemala this week to work alongside Guatemalan physicians to provide free medical care for civilians in Guatemala City.

These Guard airmen have been treating as many as 500 patients a day, providing dental, optometry, family medicine, and orthopedic care. Since 2022 Arkansas and Guatemala have been joined as part of the National Guard state partnership program and take part in 20 to 30 military to military exchanges per year. For more information about the state partnership program and it's important impact on supporting allied and partner nations worldwide, you can reach out to the National Guard Bureau of public affairs.

And with that, happy to take your questions. We'll go to Associated Press Lita.

Q: Thanks, Pat. Can you give us the Secretary's reaction to Senator Tuberville lifting his hold on the vast majority of the nominations and also what impact does it have on the Department that he has suggested he would continue to hold four star nominations? What -- what problems does that create?

GEN. RYDER: Well, certainly we're encouraged by the news. We'll continue to stay engaged with Senator Tuberville in the Senate directly to urge that all the holds on all our general flag officer nominations be lifted to include those nominated for four star.

As you know, there have been upwards of 455 nominations concerning 451 general flag officers at the Senate for consideration. In terms of the number of four stars, there would be at least 11 four stars that would be impacted by those continued holds.

And all of those positions obviously are key senior leadership positions to include the vice chiefs of the various services. The commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, the commander of Pacific Air Forces, commander of Air Combat Command, as well as the commander of United States Northern Command, Cyber Command and Space Command.

So clearly vital and critical organizations, all of which require experienced senior leaders in those positions.

Q: Does this create any complications as some of the people who move up into the three star jobs and some move up into other positions. Does this create complications with people in the same post or would it -- and what happens with those who are nominated (inaudible)?

GEN. RYDER: Yes, sure. So that is something that we will continue to work through. You know this is obviously developing but clearly something that the Department has experienced in terms of managing general and flag officers. But to your point it's not just flicking a switch and suddenly everyone moves into these new positions. You have to consider things like when people can move, where the people that are moving out of the positions are going. And so all of that has to be carefully orchestrated and done in a way that enables us to continue to conduct the operations without having significant impact, not only on the mission but also on the individual family members.

So that'll -- that will be something clearly that we'll continue to work through and have more information on in the coming days. Jennifer.

Q: Pat, what was accomplished by Senator Tuberville's hold?

GEN. RYDER: I'd have to refer you to Senator Tuberville to talk about that. I mean clearly from the Department of Defense standpoint, we have a mission to do and we require senior leaders in key positions to help lead and conduct the operations of the Department of Defense and so I'll just leave it at that.

Q: Can you be more specific about the impact it actually had in terms of the officers and their families? What -- what impact...

GEN. RYDER: Yes, well clearly, again, as evidenced by everything that's going on in the world right now, we have a very important mission in terms of defending this nation and any time you add a level of uncertainty into the chain of command it creates an unnecessary friction. It has an impact on readiness as we try to stay focused on the mission, which we're going to do.

And so this department is very focused on a daily basis on getting that mission done, but when it's unclear whether or not your senior leaders are going to be in place at the time and place they're needed, that of course creates unnecessary friction and does have impact on readiness.

Q: ... agreement made with Senator Tuberville, what changed?

GEN. RYDER: I'd have to refer you to Senator Tuberville for that.


Q: Thanks, Pat. I have a question about Iraq and Syria. So we know about the AC-130 that struck Iran-backed militants in Syria after an attack on American forces the last month, and we know about the U.S. drone that preempted an attack by militants in Iraq over the weekend. So can you tell us how many of these sort of unplanned, swift either counter-battery or preemptive strikes the U.S. has launched in the region since October 17th?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Matt. I don't have anything else to read out to you. Clearly, we have and always have had the inherent right of self-defense. And so if our forces on the ground are attacked, it is certainly within their right to take appropriate action and respond.

And so in those cases, obviously, you know, we were able to highlight that information for you, but I don't have any additional updates to provide.

Q: ... priority for troops safety in the region that you've talked about in the past. Should we expect more of these kind of preemptive strikes against these militants going forward?

GEN. RYDER: So I'm not going to telegraph what we may or may not do, other than to say we're going to do what's necessary to protect our forces. In this particular case, again, you know, it's what I would consider a dynamic strike, in the sense that they saw this attack about to happen, took appropriate action to eliminate the threat.

And so the bottom line is we will do what we need to do to protect our forces. Thank you very much.

Let me go over here to Fadi and then I'll come back (inaudible).

Q: I have two separate questions. (Inaudible) first on the Secretary's speech in -- in California, where he talked in length about the war in Gaza, and -- and he said that the only way to win in urban warfare is to protect civilians, and he personally pushed, as he said, Israeli leaders to attempt to do more to protect civilians.

Since the end of this pause on Friday, health authorities in Gaza are saying that more than 1,200 civilians have been killed in Israeli strikes. How satisfied is the Secretary from the way Israel is going about protecting civilians in Gaza?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Fadi. So I can't comment on the numbers that Hamas -- the Hamas Health Ministry is -- putting out. So I can't verify those numbers. But what I can say -- can I answer your question?

What I can say is that the Secretary -- his words speak for themselves. I mean, we will continue to consult with our Israeli partners on the importance of taking civilian safety into account. As he highlighted, not only is it a moral obligation but it's a strategic imperative.

At the same time, again, we do recognize that Israel is engaged in a very difficult fight, when it comes to preventing Hamas from conducting the kinds of attacks they did on October 7th, in a very dense, urban environment in which Hamas has intertwined itself among the civilian population, in effect using them as human shields.

So again, I'm not going to speak to Israel's operations, per se, other than to say that, again, we will continue to talk with our Israeli partners and expect them to conduct their operations in accordance with the law of armed conflict. Thank you.

Q: On the numbers, just -- just want to know that -- the UN is using those numbers and even the U.S. government, and we saw that in a hearing in Congress, where U.S. officials had (inaudible) there are more ...


GEN. RYDER: ... what you said was that since the operations started again on Friday, that the Hamas Ministry of Health has said -- and I just can't vouch for those numbers.

Q: ... authorities in Gaza, but what I'm saying is the -- the U.S. government is acknowledging that these numbers are accurate.

But on the second thing -- issue, Amnesty International and UN investigation has said that 43 Palestinian civilians have been killed in two unlawful airstrikes by Israel using U.S.-made weapons, and Amnesty is saying these are apparent war crimes. Does U.S. have any, or this department any understanding of how many civilian Palestinians have been killed by weapons provided to Israel by the U.S.?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Fadi. So as far as the report goes, we're reviewing that report. As you know, as a general matter, we don't offer public evaluation -- or we don't offer evaluations of public reports that are by outside groups.

But again, I'd go back to what I said earlier, is that we are going to continue to consult closely with our Israeli partners on the importance of taking civilian safety into account in conducting their operations.

Let me go to Joseph.

Q: Thanks. Today -- earlier today, the Lebanese Army announced that an Israeli strike on a Lebanese base killed one Lebanese soldier, injured three others. It seems like it's the first of its kind. Without speaking to Israeli operations, it also comes on the heels of last week's call between General Brown and the Lebanese Army Chief. And General Brown reiterated the need to restore calm on the blue line.

So does the department have any -- any comment or response to the attack today, which the Lebanese Army, until today, said they're not involved in these combat operations?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Joseph. I don't have any information on that particular report. Clearly, the Lebanese Armed Forces are an important partner in the region, but I just don't have any insight into that. Again, as the Chairman highlighted, we do not want to see an escalation of the conflict along the northern border of -- of Israel. And so I'll just leave it at that.

Q: ... just a follow-up on (inaudible) last week -- Dr. Karlin, a few weeks ago, said that there's a CIVCAS office here, the department's tracking civilian casualties in Gaza. Do you have any -- can you elaborate at all on what -- what exactly they're doing? Are there any reports that are expected to come out?

GEN. RYDER: I'll have to take that question. I don't have any further information.

Let me go back here to (Waafa ?) and then Nancy.

Q: (Inaudible) Israeli Defense Secretary said the -- or predicted the war and its current intensity will last for at least another two months. Does the Pentagon share this assessment? And will the U.S. (inaudible) be providing or continue to provide Israel with the security assistance as long as this war will take?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so I can't put a timeline on an Israeli operation. That's really a question for the Israelis to address. I can tell you what we're focused on -- and you've heard me talk about this before -- number one is protecting U.S. forces and citizens. Number two is ensuring that Israel has what it needs to defend itself from future terrorist attacks by Hamas. We're also continuing to work closely with Israel, in terms of hostage recovery. And then also ensuring that this crisis does not escalate into a broader regional conflict. So that will continue to remain our focus.

Q: And so you -- you continue to provide the military assistance as long as this war will take?

GEN. RYDER: We will continue to consult closely with Israel to ensure that they have what they need to defend themselves, to prevent a future terrorist attack.

Q: One -- one more thing. Can you confirm that the U.S. is flying ISR flights over Lebanon? And also if you can tell us if you resumed the ISR flights over Gaza?

GEN. RYDER: I'll have to take that question. I don't have that.


Q: Thank you. I wanted to follow up on some of the comments that Secretary Austin made over the weekend in his speech. He warned that -- that there was the possibility that an -- that Israel could replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.

And so what I'd like to understand is if he is -- if that worry is leading to any changes, in terms of the types of weapons that the United States provides Israel, or -- or how it advises Israel to prevent the strategic defeat that he warned of?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Nancy. So I'm not going to get into the specifics, other than to say again we consult closely with Israel, Secretary Austin speaks to his counterpart on a near daily basis, and part of those discussions includes the kind of security assistance Israel needs to prevent a future terrorist attack in the future.

Those conversations also include a robust discussion, as he highlighted in his remarks, of ensuring that civilian safety is taken into account, as well as the importance of ensuring that humanitarian assistance is being provided to the people of Gaza. So I'll just leave it at that. Thank you very much.


Q: So the Wall Street Journal actually, they reported yesterday that the Israelis are weighing a plan to flood Gaza's tunnels used by Hamas with seawater. And I'm just wondering if that's something that U.S. defense officials have been told about by their Israeli counterparts, a plan that they've been consulting on and/or something they would support?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, I'd have to refer you to the IDF to talk about their operations. Thanks, Natasha.

Let me go to the phone here before I get in trouble. Let's go to Lara Seligman with Politico.

Q: Hi. Yes, thanks, Pat. Sorry. I hope you can hear me. I'm in kind of a loud space. But I'm just wondering if the Secretary has (inaudible) discussions or (presented ?) any options about whether to -- about striking back potentially on any of the Houthi targets in -- in Yemen or the Houthis that have been launching attacks at commercial shipping?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Lara. So again, I'm not going to telegraph or speculate on potential strikes in the future. As you've heard us say, we're going to do what's necessary to protect our forces.

Now, let's take a step back here and talk about the situation in the Red Sea. As you've heard yesterday, most likely, from the White House, in terms of the -- or the National Security Advisor talked about the fact that we are in discussions with our partners and our allies about a maritime task force.

It's important to highlight that the Houthi strikes against commercial vessels in international waters underscore the fact that this is an international problem. All three of these ships were sailing in international waters, representing a variety of countries, in terms of where they were flagged and who they were crewed by.

So those talks are ongoing. I don't have any specifics to announce but I would highlight we already have the framework in place to enable such a task force through the combined maritime task force.

Now, the important thing to understand about that task force, it's an international task force made up of 38 nations. It is a coalition of the willing and it does not prescribe a specific level of participation from any member nation. So those contributions are determined from each country, and so therefore can vary depending on its ability to contribute assets and its availability to provide those assets at any given time.

So we are definitely looking to take action here, as it relates to working with partners and allies throughout the region -- oh, by the way, something that we've been doing for years. Thank you.

Let me go to Jeff Schogol, Task & Purpose.

Q: Thank you. You had mentioned some of the four star positions that remain vacant, including the head of Air Combat Command, Cyber, Space and Northern Command. How is the department affected or how is it limited by these continuing vacancies?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Jeff. Well, to be clear, there are people in a lot of those positions. In some cases though they've been extended or in some cases there's an acting role. In the case of the vice chief positions, to your point, currently there would be no vice chief. So it's a combination.

And then again, in terms of the impact, we've got a lot of work to do and you need to have the right leaders in place in order to carry out those operations -- oh, by the way, in some cases, when you're in an acting capacity, you don't have the full authorities necessary to sign off on policies or to make decisions or, by virtue of statutes that may exist that require Senate-confirmed leader, to be able to carry out certain duties.

So again, we've talked about this ad nauseam and the importance of making sure that all holds are lifted and that nominations can make their way through the Senate.


Q: Thanks, Pat. There were many elected leaders at the Reagan Forum. Secretary Austin was there. Did Secretary Austin discuss the hold issue with any senators or their staff at the Reagan Forum? Has he had any recent conversations, either in person, by phone, letter, or other means, that may have put a renewed sense of urgency on this issue?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Chris. So I'm not going to get into the private conversations that he had, other than to say he did have the opportunity to engage with congressional leaders at the Reagan Defense Forum. But look, he's been very clear on this, both publicly and privately for a very long time now, on the importance of lifting these holds. Thanks very much.


Q: Thank you, General Ryder. I want to go back to what you have said about the maritime task force. Does the Pentagon believe that the GCC should -- and Egypt should play a role in this international -- (U.S.-international-led ?) effort?

GEN. RYDER: Thanks, Joe. Again, I don't have anything to announce today, in terms of the specifics, other than to say we do have a framework in place, as it relates to the combined maritime force. So when we have additional details to provide, we certainly will do that. Thank you very much.


Q: Thank you very much, General. Regarding to the New York Times report yesterday, a -- a Hamas missile struck an IDF facility. (Inaudible) Israel's in the clear compared to (missiles ?). So do you have any image of the -- that attack (inaudible) that's happened already on 7th of October -- last October? And what is the DOD concerns about impact on U.S. strategic stockpile in Israel because of this war?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks. As it relates to that news report, I don't have anything on that. I'd refer you to Israel. Clearly though, when you take a step back -- and to your point -- there are missiles being launched into Israel, which again highlights the threat that Hamas does pose to Israel.

(J.J. ?)?

Q: So you mentioned three things there were part of the objectives for sending the added presence to the region since the October 7th massacre in Israel, and the third one, which (inaudible) to prevent the crisis from expanding to other corners of the region. Given the frequency and the types of attacks and the those that have been involved, is the Pentagon satisfied that this conflict hasn’t already expanded?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, look, again, what we are focused on is preventing the crisis in Israel, as it relates to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, from expanding into the broader region. So far, it's our assessment that that has been contained. Israel is fighting Hamas in Gaza.

Now that's not to say that there aren't elements, you know, in Iraq and Syria that are attempting to exploit the situation, as you have seen, with these rocket and drone attacks. Oh, by the way, it's not the first time these groups have done these sorts of things. So as they, again, try to use this situation to advance their broader objective which is to expel U.S. forces from Iraq and Syria.

Again, we have a very important mission there, focused on the defeat ISIS mission. It's the only reason our forces are there. They will stay focused on that and we're going to stay focused on protecting them.

As it relates to the Houthis, again, I've highlighted that we will continue to consult with international allies and partners on an appropriate way to protect commercial shipping going through that region, and at the same time ensuring we do what we need to do to protect our forces.

You've been following this region for a long time. You know that the Houthis forces, Houthi rebels have been engaged in conflict throughout that region for a while now. Just in this case now they're targeting international shipping. And so the United States, along with many countries in the region, have provided a presence there to ensure international security and stability. We will continue to play an important role in that effort.

Let me go back the phone. And then I'll come back to Jennifer here. Let me go to Howard, War Zone.

Q: Hey, thanks, Pat. The IDF is saying that about two civilians are killed for every Hamas fighter. Are you tracking that -- that level of casualties figure?

GEN. RYDER: Look, again, I don't have any information you provide on specifics of casualties, Howard, other than we know and you've heard me say before that thousands of civilians have been killed in this fighting. We regret any loss of life, and any loss of life is tragic, which is why you see us working so hard to make sure that not only does civilian -- or humanitarian assistance get in, but also that we're continuing to consult closely with the Israelis on the importance of mitigating any civilian harm.


Q: Just a quick follow-up. In terms of the Freedom of Navigation operations, what message should the Chinese be taking from the U.S. reaction in the Red Sea? You had ballistic missiles and drones fired at U.S. vessels. Would this be the same response in the Pacific? And what message should China take from this?

GEN. RYDER: Yes, so a couple of things. So, first of all, just to clarify, in the case of what we saw over this weekend with the drones, those drones were coming in the direction of the Carney, which is why, you know, they took it down. I can't stand here and tell you that we know definitively that they were headed towards the Carney, but they were within the threat ring and the commanders took the appropriate action to ensure that they were defending themselves.

Every single time you're in one of these situations, you have to judge it on your own merit, which is, again, why it's important to have qualified, experienced people in command in order to make sure that you're not taking actions that could potentially escalate the situation.

So to your question as it relates to inappropriate, unprofessional behavior in the South China Sea, again, a lot of times its target identification or aircraft identification and knowing what you're dealing with here. Same thing if you're flying over Syria and you are interacting with any Russian assets, you need to make appropriate decisions on that situation and what the appropriate action is going to be.

All that to say all of our forces always maintain the inherent right of self-defense. And if there is a threat perceived, they can take appropriate action and will do so.

Q: ... ballistic missiles were fired at three international ship -- ships and they hit those ships. If the same thing happened in the South China Sea, would the U.S. still not respond?

GEN. RYDER: I'm not going to get into hypothetical situations, other than, again, we'll take appropriate action based on the situation.


Q: Thank you, General. Excuse me. White House National Security Advisor Sullivan said the United States was to -- support to Ukraine (inaudible) -- excuse me, I (inaudible) voices -- Ukraine has one -- I'm sorry, I have another (inaudible) over here. White House National Security Advisor Sullivan said that United States was to -- support to Ukraine has run out. And he also said that South Korea had supplied large quantities of artillery shells to Ukraine. So how will the budget be covered? And should South Korea more (inaudible) support to Ukraine?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so just to kind of underscore what Mr. Sullivan said, you know, time is really of the essence when it comes to Congress passing the supplemental request, or else we will find ourselves in a position where we're not able to support Ukraine security assistance requirements much longer.

And so we will -- as I highlighted at the top of this briefing, Secretary Austin, General Brown will both be on the Hill today to again speak with members of Congress and to highlight again we want to work closely with them to have this supplemental passed so that we can continue to support Ukraine and meet their urgent security needs to prevent further Russian aggression.

Time for a few more. Tony?

Q: ... the -- the current figure of how much PDA, Presidential Drawdown Authority, is still available? And once that's exhausted, don't -- do the services have other sources they could tap for Ukraine?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so right now, there is roughly $4.8 billion in restored presidential drawdown authority still available, and there is $1.1 billion in existing resources available to backfill U.S. stocks.

So in terms of funding -- as I highlighted, without funding, we will not be able to provide Ukraine with the critical security assistance it needs to protect its cities, its people, its critical infrastructure, and we may reach a point where we can't sustain the current level of security assistance support to Ukraine.

And our spending decisions are going to be informed by multiple factors, which include Ukraine's immediate needs, their equipment availability, and our capacity to replenish our resources, ensuring that our aid is both strategic and sustainable.

So again, we would just continue to urge Congress to pass the supplemental.

Q: Can I just circle back on the Amnesty International issue? You said you were looking at the report. Is -- the civilian mitigation and response (inaudible) unit that's in the policy shop, are they the ones actively looking at that report? Is -- is this the kind of report that that unit would be -- is looking at to advise senior leadership here in their discussions with Israel?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so kind of similar to what Joseph was asking, so I'll take that question back and we'll look at that holistically.



Q: ... use to the public to know that.

GEN. RYDER: You've got it.

Q: Thank you very much, sir. Are you still working on determining how much military assistance has been sent to -- to Israel so far? Because you've been working on that for a couple of weeks.

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so what I would tell you here, because, again, I -- you know, I think we've talked about previously, in terms of why are you able to provide information on Ukraine but you're not able to provide information on Israel -- and so I have dug into this a little bit further -- and I would say that it's important to differentiate the security assistance we're providing to Ukraine and Israel.

The Department of Defense budgeted for Ukraine, which is trackable via the presidential drawdown authority announcements that we've made, but the situation in Israel is different. So DoD has not received appropriated funds or drawdown authority for Israel.

So instead, Israel is using its own funds to pay for U.S. defense articles and services, to include State Department-provided foreign military financing for some items that are sold through foreign military sales, as well as direct commercial sales.

And so if, you know, Congress acts on the supplemental budget and funds are appropriated, then certainly there will be an ability to track those funds, but Congress has yet to act on the supplemental budget request for Ukraine and Israel. And as I highlighted, it's essential that they do so.

So at this time, DoD has not been provided any funding for support to Israel and our previous funding for Ukraine is nearly exhausted. So again, we would just call on Congress to pass it.

Q: ... now that Israel has restarted their military campaign, has the administration said that no red lines are drawn and also no preconditions on the use (inaudible) the U.S. munition and weapons? Is that still the case? Can you confirm?

GEN. RYDER: Well, again, I'd just go back to how we got here, right, on October 7th, when Hamas attacked Israel, killed over 1,200 people, took over 200 hostages, half of which are still being held. So we understand fundamentally Israel's right to defend itself from these kinds of attacks, but again, as I highlighted earlier, we also expect that Israel will conduct its operations in accordance with the law of armed conflict. And we'll continue to have those conversations for all the reasons I've highlighted and as Secretary Austin highlighted in his remarks at the Reagan National Defense Forum.

Let me take just a couple more from the phone. James, Messenger?

Q: Hi, thanks for the question. On PDA funding, you kind of answered the first question -- part of the question that I had on that. On -- on PDA funding -- and -- and -- and I understand if you can't talk about this cause you don't want to -- yeah, I -- I understand you're a man who doesn't like to telegraph -- but I was wondering, when we talk about -- that -- the PDA funding's about to run out and we're not able to replenish the stocks, are we talking weeks, are we talking months? Is there any sort of timeline that's -- you know -- and -- and -- and again, I understand you don't want to telegraph to the Russians, but what does "soon" mean?

GEN. RYDER: ... James. Again, you know, part of this -- I don't want to get into a specific date since a lot will depend on the size of upcoming PDA packages -- and again, those spending decisions are informed by the factors that I highlighted -- but the bottom line is it's going to be sooner rather than later.

And so this is why, again, the department, to include Secretary Austin, has made clear that we need Congress's support now to provide Ukraine with the capabilities -- we need Congress's support now so that we can provide Ukraine with the capabilities that they urgently need to defend themselves.

OK, I'll take one more from the room here. Yes, sir?

Q: Hi, Pat. Thanks for doing this. The Human Rights Watch reported, I believe this morning, that satellite imagery that they reviewed showed that the Israeli military destroyed extensive farmland in the northeast Gaza Strip, including during the recent truce, when the IDF was in control of the territory in which the farmland was destroyed.

Does the department see a tactical reason to do this, when the IDF is already in control of that territory? And does the department support this proposition that Israeli officials have thrown out there about creating a buffer zone inside the border of Gaza?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks. I don't have any information on that, Jared, so I'd refer you to the Israelis to talk about their operations. Thanks.

Thanks very much, everybody.